In a recent edition, The Biologist magazine explores how gene drive works and how it could potentially benefit the environment, public health and agriculture. Scientists from the Roslin Institute (University of Edinburgh) broadly explain the main strategies genes can use to achieve ‘drive’, interference and over-replication, as well as the current state of CRISPR-based gene drive research. Although optimistic about the tool, the authors highlight that, before releasing gene drive organisms, it is necessary to conduct an in-depth analysis of their ecological impacts, a case-by-case risk assessment and meaningful engagement with potentially affected communities.